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in its faculties and endowments; for of any impression of the Maker's image the kneaded clay was surely insusceptible); next, of a body formed out of the dust of the earth, and animated by the Creator by the infusion of the immaterial principle. "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," or, as the words might perhaps more properly be rendered, "the breath of immortality:" The original words at least express life in its highest force and vigour. That this "breath of life" is the principle of intelligence, the immaterial soul, might be made evident from a careful examination of the text itself, as it stands connected with the general story of the creation, of which it is a part; but more readily, perhaps, to popular apprehension, by the comparison of this passage with other texts in holy writ; particularly with that passage in Job in which it is said that the breath of the Almighty is that which "giveth man understanding," and with the text of the royal preacher immediately before us : For none who compares the two passages can doubt,
that the "breath of life" which "God breathes into the nostrils of the man" in the book of Genesis is the very same thing with the spirit" which God gave" in the book of Ecclesiastes. And that this spirit is the immaterial intelligent principle, is evident; because it is mentioned as a distinct thing from the body, not partaking of the body's fate, but surviving the putrefaction of the body, and returning to the giver of it.
But farther: The royal preacher in my text, assuming that man is a compound of an organized body and an immaterial soul, places the formality and essence of death in the disunion and final separation of these two constituent parts: Death is, when “the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
And this again is perfectly consistent with the account of the creation of the first man in the book of Genesis; which makes the union of these two principles the immediate cause of animation. "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man (or, so man) became a living person." God's inspiration of the breath of life, his infusion of the immaterial principle, the union of the soul to the body, was the means by which man became a living person; whence the conclusion is obvious and necessary, that the dissolution of that union is the sole adequate cause of the extinction of that life which the union produced.
It is the explicit assertion therefore both of Moses and of Solomon, that man is a compound of body and soul; and that the union of the immaterial soul with the body is the true principle of vitality in the human species. And this account of man is solemnly delivered by them both, as a branch of their religious doctrine: It demands therefore the implicit assent of every true believer; and no philosophy is to be heard that would teach the contrary.
But now let the divine be careful what conclusion he draw from this plain doctrine, and what notions he ingraft upon it. Although we must believe, if we believe our
Bible, that the union of soul and body is the first principle of animation in the human subject, it is by no means a necessary consequence that the life of man is in no degree and in no part mechanical. Since man is declared to be a compound, the natural presumption seems to be, that the life of this compounded being is itself a compound. And this experience and observation prove to be indeed the case. Man's life is compounded of the life of the intellect and the animal life. The life of the intellect is simply intelligence, or the energy of the intelligent principle. The animal life is itself a compound, consisting of the vegetable life combined with the principle of perception. Human life therefore is an aggregate of at least three ingredients, intelligence, perception, and vegetation. The lowest and the last of these, the vegetable life, is wholly in the body, and is mere mechanism, not a mechanism which any human ingenuity may imitate, or even to any good degree explore; but the exquisite mechanism of a Divine artificer: Still it is mechanism; consisting in a symmetry and sympathy of parts, and a correspondence of
motions, conducive, by mechanical laws established by the Creator's wisdom, to the growth, nourishment, and conservation of the whole. The wheels of this wonderful machine are set a-going, as the Scriptures teach us, by the presence of the immaterial soul; which is therefore not only the seat of intelligence, but the source and centre of the man's entire animation. But it is in this circumstance only, namely, that the immaterial mover is itself attached to the machine, that the vegetable life of the body, considered as a distinct thing, as in itself it is, from the two principles of intelligence and perception, differs in kind (for in respect of excellence and nicety of workmanship all comparison were impious; but in kind the vegetable life of the human body differs in this circumstance only) from mere clockwork.
This mechanism of life, in that part which belongs to the body, so evident to the anatomist and physician, and so obvious indeed to common observation, is so little repugnant to holy writ, that it is clearly implied in many passages. It is implied in